‘Devil’ Soldiers participate in first aid competition
Pvt. Croty Craft, HHT, 4th Sqdn., 4th Cav. Regt., walks the now blind Pfc. Alfredo Craft through the processes of sling and swathing. Photo by: 2nd Lt. Jeffrey Nelson, 4TH SQDN, 4TH CAV. REGT.
Story by: 2nd Lt. Jeffrey Nelson, 4TH SQDN, 4TH CAV. REGT. PUBLIC AFFAIRS
"So everyone is on the same standard, everyone will get the same treatment," said Pvt. Croty Craft, Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 4th Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, after walking his teammate through the second stage of the competition. "It's so we're all proficient."
The Soldiers were competing in the Devil Stakes First Aid competition, where Soldiers of each company, troop and battery battle against each other on medical tasks, including applying a tourniquet or buddy carry, but with a minor twist – the teams must do the tasks while under stress.
"Competitions like this assist with training purposes," said Sgt. Robert Rivera, HHT, 4th Sqdn., 4th Cav. Regt., 1st ABCT, during an after-action review. "It shows what Soldiers are lacking or excelling (at) skills wise … The handicaps were there to be additional stress, and it worked pretty well. We saw a lot of people having problems overcoming the handicaps, but they are something you could see in combat."
The competition had two simple events, but with induced stressors to challenge the best Soldiers from the brigade. The first event of the morning was a timed buddy carry in full gear. The first member picked up the casualty properly and carried him 50 meters to his teammate.
Once there, the second member picked up the casualty and brought him back to the starting line. The event was timed and was a challenge while in full battle gear.
The second event consisted of an evaluation and treatment of a casualty, but with a twist. One of the members was blind, and the other could only give vocal directions on what was going on. This introduced a level of difficulty and tested the "hands-on know-how" of treating a casualty, with the knowledge of injuries and proper treatment.
"Those are tasks that you have to be able to do in a moment's notice without even thinking," said Pfc. Alfredo Varel, HHT, 4th Sqdn., 4th Cav. Regt., after turning in his score sheet. "It's drilled into your head. You have to evaluate as quickly and accurately as possible to treat them correctly and as fast as possible. If you stop and think about the next step, you're wasting precious seconds that you could be helping that person."
"When you're doing these tasks, it's not going to be sunny, clear and ideal conditions … If you can do it blindfolded, you can save someone's life," added Pvt. Craft, after completing the final event.